Branch News

(See more news: NLAPW National Level News and News from Pen Women.)


In The Pen Woman, Spring 2018

Modesto Celebrates ‘Pen Women Presents!’

Modest Branch

Modesto’s participating artists and poets, from left to right, back row:
V.J. Vogelzang, Linda Sawyer, Henrietta Sparkman, Ann Williams-Bailey, Nancy Haskett; front row: Linda Prather, Chella Gonsalves, Carol David, and Sally Ruddy

By Nancy Haskett, Modesto Branch President

The Modesto Branch, California, was featured in the art and poetry exhibition “Pen Women Presents!” that took place Feb. 1 to March 27 at Modesto’s Carolyn Huff Photography Studio and Gallery. The exhibit included eight artists and three poets who displayed their works, including paintings, framed poetry, and note cards. In addition, seven branch members read prose and poetry aloud during open receptions on both Feb. 15 and March 15, as part of downtown Modesto’s “Art Walk” on the third Thursday of each month.

Featured artists were Chella Gonsalves, Carol David, Linda Prather, Sally Ruddy, Linda Sawyer, Jude Slack, Henrietta Sparkman, and Ann Wiliams-Bailey. Branch members with poetry on display were Nancy Haskett, Louise Kantro, and V.J. Vogelzang. Jill Adler, Lynn Hansen, Nancy Haskett, Louise Kantro, Linda Prather, Ann Williams-Bailey, and V.J. Vogelzang did readings.

Palm Springs Member Adds Music Category

Lois Batchelor Howard at the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park, San Diego, the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world. She played Friday concerts for area fifth-graders.

Lois Batchelor Howard, a longtime letters member, is excited to now also be a new music member. She was active for many years in the La Jolla Branch and, after moving to Desert Hot Springs, she is a proud member of the Palm Springs Branch.

For music membership, three of her performed compositions were sent to National Music Chair Marcia Foster Dunscomb: “I Sought The Lord,” for soprano, baritone, and organ; a song, “To Mother”; and a children’s musical, “Circles.”

Now that she has retired, she has more time to dedicate to composing and writing.

Pensacola Honored for Highest Membership Growth

Left to right, Karen M. Morris, Nancy Nesvik, Ann Davis, Diana Obe, branch President Mara Viksnins,
2018 NLAPW President Virginia Campbell, and Anne Baehr.

By Mara Viksnins, Pensacola Branch President

At the Des Moines Biennial, the Pensacola Branch, Florida, was recognized for having the highest growth in membership for 2017-2018, and was honored to have its name affixed on a beautiful plaque presented by Virginia Franklin Campbell, NLAPW president, 2016-2018. The plaque will be displayed at Pen Arts in Washington, D.C.

We deeply appreciate this honor, which reinforces our goal of spreading the word about NLAPW, its meaningful history, and its vitality and sustainability for women in the creative arts.

The 49th Biennial was a wonderful experience for our branch’s Pen Women as we witnessed firsthand the incredible talent through the demonstrations, literary readings, musical presentations, and art works on display. The personal stories of triumphs over illness and addiction were especially moving and inspiring.

Laura Walth and her committees are to be commended for their organizational skills and awesome programming. Virginia Franklin Campbell and the board have put their hearts and souls into making this historical organization come to life.

We wish the new President Evelyn Wofford and her new board lots of success, and we look forward to the next Biennial in 2020.

Sarasota Awards Scholarships to High School Seniors

By Barbara Jendrysik

The Sarasota Branch, Florida, presented awards to high school seniors from Sarasota and Manatee schools in March at its annual Awards Luncheon. These awards, based on competitions organized by the branch, are given to seniors to encourage their education and interest in the arts. The students displayed their award-winning art work, read their compositions, and performed music at the luncheon.

The Sarasota Branch raised funds through member donations, a silent auction, and monthly meeting raffles.

The Betty Altman Art Awards were funded by the David Altman Foundation in memory of branch member Betty Altman. Sylvia Price funded the Dr. Sylvia Anderson Price Writing Award in memory of her late husband.

Additional donors included Publix Supermarkets, WastePro USA, ABC Books 4 Children and Adults, and the Duvall Family Studies Initiative.

Branch members who chaired the event were Amy A. Elder and Sylvia Price (letters), Alice Moerk (music), and Audre Marans and Barbara Jendrysik (art).

Click on photos below to read the captions, or click on the top-left image to scroll through the entire gallery.


Cape Cod Explores Connection Between Art and Science

By Kathryn Kleekamp, Cape Cod Branch Secretary

The Cape Cod Branch presented “Art and Science — More than Meets the Eye” as part of ARTWEEK Massachusetts 2018. The speaking event on May 2 and the two-week art exhibition by Pen Women took place at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth.

Cape Cod is known as a premiere spot for scientific exploration. The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute are located here. Cape Cod is also a mecca for thousands of artists who live here or visit annually seeking inspiration for their work.

human dental plaque

Photo micrograph of human dental plaque by Jessica Mark Welch, who spoke about science as art.

While many consider art and science worlds apart, those working in both fields know the similarities far outweigh the stereotypical differences. Both require curiosity, careful observation, inspiration, discipline, passion, and commitment. When the layperson cannot understand technical jargon, the artist makes the concept more accessible.

Jessica Mark Welch, PhD, an assistant scientist at MBL, was one of three guest speakers. She showed her striking fluorescent microscopic images of bacteria organisms in the mouth.

Dr. Bob Reece, who has published two works of fiction based on nonfiction, shared his love of writing and described how a medical doctor finds a rich source of stories from years of working with patients. Dr. Bob Ryder, a retired orthodontist, talked about the golden mean and its importance in measurements both in his dental work and his work as an instructor of sculpture.

Dr. Reece summarized the meeting, saying, “You go to school to learn how to do something to make a living. The arts make living worthwhile.”

Central Ohio Presents ‘Seasons of Our Lives’

The Central Ohio Branch is a diverse group of professional writers, artists, musicians, and allied artists who come together to network and participate in programming that expands their horizons. They have combined some of their best work for a gallery experience that showcases the wide variety of talent in the organization as it invites visitors to engage with “Seasons of Our Lives.”

Central OH

Central Ohio Pen Woman Deborah Melton Anderson with her textile art, “Poem,” at The Works during the opening reception.

The show, designed to respond to the theme, “Seasons of Our Lives,” includes collaborations among members as well as individual works of fine art and composition. The theme required participants to respond to the question of what life season they are in or what pivotal time of life inspired the work.

Viewers are encouraged to examine their own “seasons of life” as they experience the exhibition, which includes paintings, sculptures, and textiles, along with literary and musical compositions.

The show began at The Works in Newark, Ohio, April 13 through July 6 and continues at the Carnegie Gallery of the Columbus Main Library in Columbus July 11 through Aug. 24.

Boca Raton Awards Four Art Scholarships

Boca Raton branch

The newly elected officers of the Boca Raton Branch at the installation/awards end-of-the-year luncheon meeting in April: Dr. Barbara Lunde, corresponding secretary; Sheila Firestone, second vice president of membership; Lea Becker, treasurer; and Prue Carrico and Elaine Bossik, co-presidents. (Not pictured are Janet Kleinman, first vice president of programs; and Brenda Dressler, recording secretary.)

Adapted from an article written by Pen Woman Meryl Davids and reprinted with permission from

The Boca Raton Pen Women recently awarded four scholarships totaling $4,200 to college students studying different areas of the arts: letters, music/dance, and visual arts.

Darah Abrams, who attends the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, received a $1,000 scholarship to pursue her studies in choreography. Abrams appeared in numerous shows at Dreyfoos and also at the Lake Worth Playhouse. She recently danced in, and was associate choreographer for, the show “Kiss Me Kate” at her school. And, she’s a brand new Pen Women student member!

Noelle J. Putnik, a student at Florida Atlantic University, received $1,200 to study the visual arts. Putnik is the daughter of Boca Pen Woman Michelle Putnik, who is a writer. (Noelle actually illustrated Michelle’s award-winning book, “Dobin.”) This art award is named for the late Dori Popoenoe, a longtime artist and member of Boca Pen Women who, with her husband, left money to the group to establish a trust for art studies.

Caitlin Nobile

Scholarship recipient Caitlin Nobile (left) at the Boca Raton April luncheon with her stepmother, Bianca, Catan.

Caitlin Lee Nobile received the other art award. Nobile received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Florida Atlantic University in December, and will use her $1,000 scholarship to pursue a master’s in fine arts from the University of South Florida in Tampa starting this fall. She also recently applied for a NLAPW student membership.

The fourth scholarship was awarded to Alexandra Monte, who also won one of the three scholarships awarded by Boca Pen Women last year. Her $1,000 prize will enable her to continue her studies in creative writing. Monte attends Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, and is currently working on a historical fiction novel that takes place in 15th-century France.

Monte’s award was presented at the March business meeting and luncheon of Boca Pen Women while she was on spring break. The other three awards were presented at the lunch meeting of the Boca Raton Branch on April 19.

Connecticut Pioneer Showcases Triple Threat

The Connecticut Pioneer Branch recently treated the public to works by its art, letters, and music members at an event titled “Spring Inspirations.” Framed art works in a variety of media, as well as poetry, adorned the walls of the Gertrude White Gallery of the Greenwich YWCA May 2-31.

The reception, which took place Friday evening on May 4, featured musical performances, poetry and prose readings, and the presentation of Junior Awards to three talented young women from Greenwich High School: writer Monique Nikolov, artist Ella Fitzgerald, and composer Jenna Handali. Branch President Thalia Cokkinos served as master of ceremonies and led the program with an impromptu piece on the harp.

Click on the gallery photos below to read captions, or click on the first image to scroll through the entire gallery.


In The Pen Woman, Spring 2018

Pensacola Attends Inspiring Florida State Convention

By Autry Dye, Pensacola Branch

Attending my first NLAPW State Conference in Daytona Beach, Florida, in December was an experience I’ll never forget. It takes many people to organize a state or national conference and have it come off smoothly. Many hurdles have to be overcome, and for the Florida State planners this year, this included a hurricane that damaged the original hotel where it was planned, resulting in the rush to find a new hotel that could accommodate the conference and be as close to the original date as possible. State President Carol Welsh Somma and her committees did it beautifully.

State winners: Nancy Nesvik, second place, art; Autry Dye, first, letters, and honorable mention, art; Mara Viksnins, Florida State Pen Woman of the Year; Staci Miron, Best of Show, art; Karen Morris, first place, letters; Anne Baehr, third place, art. Not pictured are Jacqueline Campbell and Helen Breton, both honorable mentions. Photography by Christine Salomé

Seven of our members traveled from Pensacola to Daytona Beach, where we were welcomed with open arms and big smiles. We enjoyed being with talented people. We had great weather and a lovely hotel. What was it like in two words? Awesome and inspiring.

To our great joy, our Pensacola Branch received five awards in art and two in letters, plus our president, Mara Viksnins, received the honor of being named Pen Woman of the Year for the state of Florida.

The closing memorial service was especially moving, a tribute to each member who had died during the last two years. A candle was lit for our own Donna Freckmann in memorial.

I would like to encourage every member to attend an NLAPW conference. You come away with a bond that cannot be broken by distance. Every speaker was well prepared and gave knowledge freely. They were very personable and inspiring. I am very proud to belong to this wonderful group of professional and creative women.

Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale Team Up for Show

The Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale branches had their first annual art and photography show at Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton. Art chairs Tammy Seymour (Fort Lauderdale) and Prue Carrico (Boca Raton) organized the well-attended event. Exhibit dates were Dec. 28 to Jan. 24.

Fort Lauderdale art chair Tammy Seymour, first-prize winner, with Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale Branch president.

Prue Carrico, third place winner.











Winning entries were:
• First prize: Tammy Seymour, “Day’s End”
• Second prize: Sandy Hynds, “Spring has Sprung”
• Third prize: Prue Carrico, “Honeycreeper’s Brunch”
• Honorable mention awards: Joni Sack, “Hydrangea and Fruit”; Bea Donne-Merna, “Precious”; Kirsten Hines, “Contentment”; Marcia Hirschy, “Caverns”

Northern California Branches ‘Celebrate Women!’

By Jill Adler, Modesto Branch

Left to right: Alameda County District 2 Supervisor Richard Valle; Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday; Matt Turner, representative for Alameda County District 4 Supervisor Nate Miley; Diablo/Alameda President Winnie Thompson; NorCal NLAPW President Dorothy Atkins; State Assemblyman Bill Quirk (District 20). Photography by Gerry Thompson

The Northern California NLAPW branches presented the exhibit “Celebrate Women!” at the John O’Lague Galleria, Hayward City Hall in Hayward, California. The exhibit ran from Oct. 6 through Nov. 17, 2017.

“Celebrate Women!” represented the first collaborative exhibit of NorCal members. Although fine-arts members contributed the largest number of works, several letters members presented framed prose or poetry for display.
The brainchild of Diablo/Alameda President Winnie Thompson, “Celebrate Women!” pulled together 52 Pen Women. Thompson also coordinated the event for NorCal NLAPW.

Members of the NorCal Pen Women branches hosted a reception in October, which included food and wine for approximately 125 attendees.

Heather Reyes, president of the Hayward Arts Council, introduced NorCal NLAPW President Dorothy Atkins, who presented certificates of commendation issued by National President Virginia Franklin Campbell to several local officials. Among those attending were Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, representatives for supervisors Nate Miley and Wilma Chan, and California State Assemblyman Bill Quirk.

Diablo/Alameda member and Celtic harpist Margaret Davis, accompanied by husband Kristoph Klover on guitar, provided musical entertainment. Exhibiting artists and writers mingled with patrons to discuss their works. Several members sold pieces from the exhibit.

On Nov. 3, the Hayward Arts Council also hosted a “We Love the Arts” fundraiser, featuring the opportunity to view “Celebrate Women!”

John O’Lague Galleria curator Winda Shimizu has invited NorCal NLAPW to exhibit again in 2018. NorCal consists of six branches: Diablo/Alameda, Golden Gate-Marin County, Modesto, Sacramento, Santa Clara County, and Stockton-Lodi.

A “Celebrate Women!” video, produced by Modesto Branch Vice President Jill Adler, features many of the exhibition artworks.

Watch the video on YouTube.

Muncie Members Learn from Inspirational Speaker

Some of the Pen Women and guests who attended the Muncie Branch’s December meeting. Nearly 20 people came to hear the program and socialize.

Members of the Muncie Branch, Indiana, met in December for a luncheon and a program by Rachael Phillips (center in photo with the red, black, and white scarf), who was featured in the anthology “A Door County Christmas,” among many other books and writings. The author, whose writing career began in her 50s, is a past winner of an Erma Bombeck humor award. She credited much of her success to her willingness to say, “Sure!” to writing opportunities that came along, whether she had experience in a genre or not. She then followed up with extensive research and hard work to accomplish the tasks.

After the keynote address, as a nod to the holidays and shopping season, members and guests were invited to share their creative works with the group. Art pieces and published books were presented to the group. Overall, the speaker and conversations created an exceptional meeting of making new friends and renewing acquaintances, and the beginnings of ushering in the new year as we look forward to more artistic endeavors.

Central Ohio Members Celebrate Milestones

Several members of the Central Ohio Branch have recent professional achievements.

“Red Hush,” fabric collage by Abby Feinknopf

Art on Display
Abby Feinknopf, Veena Bansal, and Dawn Petrill all had work included in the Columbus Museum of Art’s annual fundraiser, “An Evening with Art,” in March. Feinknopf’s fabric collage, “Red Hush”; Bansal’s oil painting, “One Fall Morning”; and Petrill’s acrylic painting, “All Things Hidden Shall be Revealed,” were all on display and available for bidding.

Abby Feinknopf hosted the opening of her exhibit at Copious in March. Her fabric collages, acrylic and paper collages, and latest bold acrylic paintings were displayed throughout the restaurant.

“Red Iris,” created by Vivian Ripley with her pastel “water method,” recently took best of show at an exhibit at the McConnell Arts Center in Columbus, Ohio. Her special watercolor technique is spotlighted in a chapter in “The Watercolor Landscape Techniques of 23 International Artists.” She developed the unique method using a large, flat, damp watercolor brush to move the pastel in a free manner to form the basis and much of the painting, with details added at the end. This method must be done on one of many pastel papers that will accept liquid treatment.

Renate Fackler’s sculpture, “Renate as a Lady Slipper Orchid,” will be in the gallery artists’ exhibit, “SELF,” April 6 through 29 at the Sharon Weiss Gallery in Columbus, Ohio.

New Books
Margaret Leis (Peg) Hanna has published her second book, “Peanut Butter on the Wall & Marshmallows in the Microwave, Memories of Raising Six Hannas in Gahanna.” Each chapter reveals true stories of the trials and joys of raising six children.

Rose Ann Kalister, award-winning playwright and author, has published her debut novel, “Sister of Saidnaya.” “It is the story of Nadra, a young Syrian woman who arrives in the United States in 1922 and settles with her family in Hedley, West Virginia. (See book review.)

Santa Clara County Salutes ‘Celebrities’

By Patricia Dennis

The nine celebrity achievers: Annette Tan, Judith Shernock, Lorna Kohler, and Ruth Huber in the front row; Tina Williams, Marcia Sivek, Pat Fisher, Lorraine Lawson, and Karen Franaenburg in the back. Mambership Chair Susan Zerweck is on the far left.

Each year, the Santa Clara County Branch members pitch in and work together to host a Celebrity Luncheon to honor individual women who have achieved professionalism in letters, music, and art. The proceeds of the event go toward the scholarship awards presented in April.

This year’s luncheon theme was “Make Mine Country Style.” A quick line-dance lesson, and guests were up and moving to the music of the Country Cougar trio. The highlight of the event were the 2018 honorees, all outstanding representatives of their perspective fields. Honored for their talents were: Pat Fisher, Marcia Sivek, Lorraine Lawson, and Annette Tan in art; and Karen Franzenburg, Judith Shernock, and Tina Jones Williams in letters. Ruth Huber and Lorna Kohler were the two musician celebrities. Our congratulations to these talented ladies — they are an inspiration.

As an opening of the celebrations, NorCal President Dorothy Atkins gave a compelling speech on what it meant to be a Pen Woman. A guest said that this talk was what inspired her to seek membership in our organization.

Here’s what Dorothy shared: “Some years ago, a woman approached me about becoming a Pen Woman. I knew nothing about the organization but I took a chance and joined. Here is what I found: an aura of creativity; strong, passionate women changing their communities with powerful brush strokes, written words that made me pause, photographs that took my breath away, melodies that touched my heart, poems that stopped me in my tracks, and stories that enlightened me.

“I was smitten, like falling in love for the first time. Why then had I not heard of the Pen Women before? Could this be true, women supporting each other, marveling at each other’s talents, attending their shows, and promoting other members? Slowly, I began to tell folks that I belonged to the National League of American Pen Women. I would say I am an artist, writer, storyteller — and I am a Pen Woman.

“Our branch memberships over the last year have increased significantly. We are being recognized as kindred spirits reaching out to others through outreach.

“In closing, I must add that I am a Pen Woman because I have to be. We give support and receive support from like-minded women. I am proud to be a part of that. We are living our gift.”

Greenwich Bestows 2017 Owl Award

Julie Dolphin was the 2017 recipient of the Owl Award, Greenwich Pen Women’s highest honor that is given yearly to a member who has distinguished herself in her field. An adjunct professor of world languages and literature at Manhattanville College, Dolphin has attained success as a freelance singer and composer. She has a long list of international credits.

She is an active participant in many volunteer activities in Fairfield County and the surrounding area. Recently, she created an enthusiastically received afterschool music program for children at the Byram Shubert Library.

The Owl Award was presented at the festive Greenwich Pen Women holiday luncheon at the Greenwich Field Club. President Deb Weir announced the winner, sharing the contents of a very, very long list of Julie Dolphin’s professional and academic accomplishments. It was the highlight of what has been a very busy year.

All Cities Branch Sponsors ESL Poetry Contest

The All Cities Branch sponsored an ESL Poetry Contest covering Nassau County school districts, New York, with high concentrations of English as a second language (ESL) student populations. Students had to write a poem with a maximum of 20 lines, in any form, about their home countries.

ESL Poetry Contest Winners: (Left to right): Martha Raudales, Nahin Flores, and Idalia Hernandez.

The winners of the contest are: Martha Raudales, third place for “My Dear Place”;  Nahin Flores, first place for “My Country”; Idalia Hernandez, second place for “My Beautiful Country,” from Roosevelt High School.

The contest was sponsored by the poetry committee of Anna Di Bella and Denise Kolanovic.

NLAPW President Virginia Campbell’s visit to New Mexico’s Yucca BranchTrip to the Courthouse

These photos were taken during a February 15, 2018 visit to the rotunda of the Sandoval County Judicial Complex in Bernalillo, NM.  Jane Maclean’s 30″ x 38″ historical still life pastel paintings, which tell the story of Sandoval County, are there on permanent display.

(L to R) NLAPW President, Virginia Campbell, Jeannie Gibson, and Jane Maclean (Yucca Branch Members). Painting title, “Blending Many Traditions to Form a Union.”


(L to R) Jane Maclean (Yucca Branch), Virginia Campbell, NLAPW President, and Jeannie Gibson (Yucca Branch). Painting title, “Carrying Old Traditions to a New World.”

Sandoval County Judicial Complex









In The Pen Woman, Winter 2018:

Diablo/Alameda Honored for Outstanding Work

Diablo/Alameda Branch Past President Carol Markos, member Charlotte Severin, President Winnie Thompson, Past President Elizabeth Hack, and Vice President Natica Angilly receive the Artists Embassy International award for the work of branch members.
Photo by Judy Hardin Cheung

The Diablo/Alameda Branch was honored for their outstanding works by the Artists Embassy International at the Dancing Poetry Festival, held in September 2017 at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

Each year, Artists Embassy International honors the work of outstanding organizations and individuals who have lent their artistry to help to fulfill its dedication to further understanding and good will through the universal language of the arts. Honoring the Diablo/Alameda Branch of NLAPW was of particular significance, as the membership includes literary outreach, art events, and extraordinary works such as the annual Dancing Poetry Festival.

It was especially rewarding as the San Francisco Mayor Edward Lee acknowledged the significance of the work of the awarded organizations as well as the members, artists, their arts, and their audience and guests.

Members of AEI, the 14 performance companies that presented their own unique versions of dancing poetry, 48 prized poem presenters, book and literary awardees, and new high school poet laureates joined in the recognition ceremonies honoring the works of the Pen Women.

Southeast Louisiana Celebrates with Oldest Member

Claire Rohrbough with her 102nd birthday cake.

Claire (seated) celebrates her 102nd birthday with her Pen sisters. Clockwise, from second row left: Brenda Brophy (Claire’s relative), Laura Mitchell, Monica Bishara, Kathy Stone, Judi Betts, and Charlene Swift. Not shown is newest member Peggy Kirby.

The Southeast Louisiana Branch celebrated the birthday of its oldest member, Claire Rohrbough, at the September meeting. She is a longtime active Pen Women who has been instrumental in promoting the organization, which she loves dearly.

Still sharp as a tack, Rohrbough contributes ideas and wisdom to her Pen sisters at meetings. When asked how does she feel being 102, she smiled and said, “No peer pressure.”

Happy 102nd birthday, Claire!


Boca Raton Hosts Luncheon, Raises Funds for Awards

Elected board members pose at the membership luncheon: Etta Schaeffer (VP, fundraising), Prue Carrico (recording secretary and art chair), Marlene Klotz (VP, programs), Barbara Bixon (treasurer), and Sheila Firestone (president).

Boca Raton Branch hosted its October membership buffet luncheon at the beautiful Westchester Country Club. Art chair Prue Carrico organized an art auction of members’ work and letters co-chair Carol White arranged a member-author table.

Silent auction baskets concluded a successful day, with funds going toward the branch’s Achievement Awards program.

Stockton-Lodi Members Exhibit in Shows

Elizabeth Parrish with her photo awards.

A child enjoys the fantasy paintings in Caroline Henry’s “The 75 Show.”









Caroline Henry, president of the Stockton-Lodi Branch, California, was inspired to create “The 75 Show” when her 75th birthday would occur during September, the month she had been invited to be the featured artist at the Lodi Community Art Center Gallery. From early May through the beginning of August, she created 75 7-by-5-inch images in various media and spent August framing, publicizing, and otherwise preparing for the show.

Caroline Henry talks to Clark Driftmier, husband of branch member Mardie Driftmier.

“I would love to see other Pen Women borrow this idea for landmark birthdays. It inspired a big burst of creativity, and people responded well to a show built around this theme,” she said.

By the end of the reception, seven paintings had sold, and others continued to sell through the month.

Additionally, branch member Elizabeth Parrish was accepted into the “Other Worlds” exhibit at the Southeastern Center for Photography in Greenville, South Carolina, during October. Of 600 entries, 34 were accepted.


Pensacola Welcomes New National Members

By Karen Morris, Branch Secretary

Left to right,  Autry Dye, Jane George, Linda Kelley, Judy Eggart, Staci Miron, Diana Obe, Claire Massey, and Helen Breton. Not pictured: Suzette Brooks and Janice Burns. Photos by Nancy Nesvik

Eight new NLAPW members were recognized at the September meeting of the Pensacola Branch, Florida: Janice Burns, Claire Massey, and Linda Kelley (letters); and Judy Eggart, Diane Obe, Suzette Brooks, Staci Maron, and Jane George (art). Helen Breton, already a letters member, received her certificate in art.

Autry Dye, Membership chair 1984-2017.

Membership chair Helen Breton presented the certificates along with Autry Dye (retiring membership chair, who has served since 1984), whom she honored as “our cornerstone.” President Mara Viksnins credited Breton and Dye for “changing the face of the organization” for their recent efforts.

Dye became an art member in 1978 while living in the Panama Canal Zone, where many of the women were multilingual and had international membership. Gratified that today’s group is as big as it has ever been, she recalls being asked in Pensacola in 1980 to help revive the flagging Pen Women branch.

She received letters membership about a decade later, and remembers reading aloud her first short story (about a childhood desire for a pair of yellow Mary Janes) at a branch meeting.

Dye praised Viksnins for maintaining interest in Pen Women and being the “glue” that holds the organization together, and Breton for her hard work this past summer that resulted in the incredible number of eight new national members. Dye likened the process to planting seeds. “This summer, all the seeds I have been planting came to fruition,” she said.

The Pensacola Branch will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year, and its recently published book, “Nobis: Making Others See,” is a fitting tribute to the organization and to the members’ own inspirations and accomplishments.
The book is a collection of selected works from 28 of Pensacola Branch’s members and patrons. Selections include full-color photographs of their artwork, poetry and prose writings, and artists’ statements.

“Nobis” is the Latin word for “us.” The cover art, “Dancers” by Mara Viksnins, symbolizes the theme.

“This book was put together with great care to show how women artists, poets, writers, photographers, and crafters with divergent backgrounds, unique skills, and personal ideals could come together in harmony,” said Viksnins, who is also the branch president.

Central New York Member Wins Book Award

CNY Branch members, from left, President Mary L.
Gardner, VP of Communications Nancy Dafoe, nonfiction award winner Georgia Popoff, NLAPW liaison and Second VP Sheila M. Byrnes, and Karen Hempson at the CNY Book Awards.

Syracuse poet and author Georgia Popoff, a Central New York Branch member, found herself in the winner’s circle at the Central New York (CNY) Book Awards, hosted at the CNY Philanthropy Center in Syracuse in November. Popoff was named a winner for her book, “The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent,” in the nonfiction category.

Popoff is the co-editor, along with Quraysh Ali Lansana, of the book of essays on Brooks. Sonia Sanchez wrote the introduction to the compilation. In addition to serving as editor, Popoff wrote one of the contributing essays in the collection: “Breaking Glass and the Sad Shatter of Hope.” Popoff’s book won in a large field of nonfiction books nominated for the award.

In addition to Popoff’s win, CNY Branch VP of Communications Nancy Dafoe was recognized for her poetry chapbook, “Poets Diving in the Night,” a finalist in the poetry competition, and her nonfiction book on education policy, “The Misdirection of Education Policy: Raising Questions about School Reform.”
The CNY Branch also had a poetry anthology, “In the Company of Women,” nominated for an award in the poetry category. Branch members Dafoe and Lorraine Arsenault served as co-editors of the honored poetry anthology, the work of the entire membership of the branch.

In addition to CNY Branch members Popoff and Dafoe, branch President Mary L. Gardner; Sheila M. Byrnes, national second VP and historian; and member Karen Hempson attended the event to support the CNY Branch contributions to the CNY Book Awards.

Connecticut Pioneer Plans for a Busy Year

Justine Macurdy, Honorary Member, playing a composition by Co-Music Chair and Membership Treasurer Marcia Preston

The Connecticut Pioneer Branch launched its season in September with a meeting featuring new President Thalia Cokkinos, who treated the members to a musical performance. She performed on the harp and sang both her own compositions and a selection of her favorite pieces by others. A potluck lunch followed.

The branch’s October meeting took place at the Cos Cob Library, with longtime member Harriet Gayle giving a timely slide presentation titled “Why Leaves Change Color and Fall.” Her scientific knowledge and excellent color photographs enriched the members’ learning. Afterward, the group met for lunch at the nearby Drawing Room restaurant.

Lucia Anderes, who hung the art with her husband Walter, in front of her oil painting “Tod’s Point”

Artist members had an opportunity to exhibit their latest creationism show titled “Autumn Reflections” at the Byram Shubert Library’s Gallery in November. The opening reception not only presented art works of many members but also had a musical element. Honorary member Justine Macurdy played the piano, highlighting compositions by music co-chair Marcia Preston, whose lively melodies inspired dance performances by several onlookers.

The branch is planning a December Holiday Sing to gather gifts for teens in need, a February Writers’ Workshop led by member Dr. Regina Krummel, a March program on women jazz composers and arrangers by music member Patti-Preiss Harris, and an April trip to the Museum of Modern Art.

Palm Springs Features Inspiring Speaker

Pamela Jordan

The Palm Springs Pen Women were elated over their first meeting of the new season in October. The speaker, Pamela Jordan, was mesmerizing. She is president of The Idyllwild Arts Foundation and head of The Idyllwild Arts Academy, and shared her profession with the Pen Women in an inspiring, uplifting, and captivating manner. All of those in attendance declared that her presentation was “dynamite.”

She had something to say for everyone in the room: letters, music, art, drama — a perfect speaker for Pen Women.

Diamond State Opens Season with a Little History

By Mary Lou Griffin, Branch President

Evelyn Swensson as Clare Boothe Luce. Luce was one of the 2017 inductees into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.

Oct. 17 was our first branch meeting of the  2017-’18 season. It was good to see some faces of people we’ve not seen for a while!

Our own, very accomplished Evelyn Swensson was the guest speaker at the DuPont Country Club for the afternoon, dressing the part and playing Clare Boothe Luce. Luce was an American author, politician, U.S. ambassador and conservative public figure. She was the first American woman to be appointed to a major ambassadorial post abroad.

It was a fascinating, informative afternoon. And Evelyn looked stunning in period dress! Thank you, Evelyn for sharing your knowledge and talents with our group!

Santa Clara County Presents Outreach Program

By Patricia Dennis

Left to right, standing: Luanna Leisure, Dorothy Atkins, Pat Fisher, ShaRon Haugen, Jeanne Carbonne, and Patricia Dennis; seated: Judy Bingman, Barbara Chamberlain, Marlyn Miller, and Edie Mathews at the Saratoga Senior Center.

The Santa Clara County Branch presented an outreach program at the San Jose Women’s Club.

Outreach Chair Dorothy Atkins opened the program a with a brief history of Pen Women and an invitation to join. Luanna Leisure, Carol Brolin, Patricia Dennis, and Nancy Bloomer Duessen then all wowed the crowd with their speeches. They talked about Pen Women, shared their passions, and got the word out about the National League of American Pen Women.

About 30 women and a few men turned out for the event. Also in the crowd were Pen Women Dorothy Brown, Susan Zerweck, and Pat Fisher. A lot of interest was generated, with a few people wanting to know more about joining.

Dorothy Atkins and new member Pat Fisher then spent a morning on outreach in the community at Ricochet Wearable Art. This is a remarkable business where owner Jill Pillot runs a sewing camp and a runway academy for young girls and women who want to express their inner artist. She is committed to inspire and empower women of all ages to explore art without boundaries.

Her boutique is unique, community oriented, heartfelt, and timeless. Not only did they find an artist who was interested in joining Pen Women, but Jill Pillot is also interested in joining NLAPW.

Other branch outreach projects include an exhibit in the study lounge at the Santa Clara Branch of the Saratoga Library, where we hope to reach out to students and adults as well and interest them in the NLAPW.

Saratoga Senior Center is also a good venue for outreach programs. Last month, we joined member Diana Chan at the center as she spoke about her book, “Animals with Backbones,” and showed an intriguing video of her safari adventure.

These events continue to be very important in bringing more awareness about the NLAPW.  This quarter, we boast seven new members!

Golden Gate-Marin County Awards Scholarship

Danielle Kisseberth

In 2002, the Golden Gate-Marin County Branch began sponsoring an annual art scholarship in the amount of $500 to a female graduating senior planning to pursue visual arts at a college, university, or art institute. The 2017 winner, Danielle Kisseberth of Tiburon, California, presented a very strong portfolio to the scholarship committee, showing a wide range of artistic interests.

In addition to studying advanced placement art courses at Redwood High School, Kisseberth attended the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago Early College Program in architecture; The Crucible glassworks studio in Oakland; and Masterworks, where she studied mosaics. She is now attending the Rhode Island School of Design.

This year, the branch will again present a $500 scholarship, plus a $150 gift card for art materials to a second graduate in honor of Idell Weiss, a longtime Pen Woman who died on Oct. 24, 2017. (See the tribute to Idell on the In Memoriam webpage.)

Boca Raton Branch faces Irma with hope and humor

Boca Raton members (left to right): Sheila Firestone, Elaine Bossik, Barb Capeletti, Vera Ripp-Hirschhorn, and Marlene Klotz.


Remembering Irma With Our Pens

Greenwich Branch announces 2017 Owl Award

Julie Dolphin

Julie Dolphin is the 2017 recipient of the Owl Award, Greenwich Pen Women’s highest honor, given yearly to a member who has distinguished herself in her field.  An Adjunct Professor of World Languages and Literature at Manhattanville College, Ms. Dolphin has attained success as a freelance singer and composer.  She has a long list of international credits.

Ms. Dolphin is an active participant in many volunteer activities in Fairfield County and the surrounding area.  Recently, she created an enthusiastically received afterschool music program for children at the Byram Shubert Library.

The award was presented at the festive Greenwich Pen Women Holiday luncheon at the Greenwich Field Club. President Deb Weir announced the winner, sharing the contents of a very, very long list of Julie’s professional and academic accomplishments.  It was the highlight of a what has been a very busy year.

Celebrate Women! Huge Success for NorCal NLAPW

Lleft to right): Alameda County District 2 Supervisor Richard Valle; Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday; Matt Turner, representative for Alameda County District 4 Supervisor Nate Miley; Diablo/Alameda President Winnie Thompson; NorCal NLAPW President Dorothy Atkins; State Assemblyman Bill Quirk (District 20). Photograph by Gerry Thompson.

The Northern California NLAPW, Inc. branches held a reception on Oct. 6, 2017, to introduce its first collaborative exhibit, Celebrate Women! at the John O’Lague Galleria in Hayward City Hall in Hayward, California.

Members of the NorCal Pen Women branches hosted the reception, providing food and libations for approximately 125 attendees. Diablo/Alameda member and Celtic harpist Margaret Davis, accompanied by husband Kristoph Klover on guitar, provided musical entertainment while guests had the chance to personally meet with many of the Pen Women.

California State Assembly Member Bill Quirk also attended the reception.

On Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, the Hayward Arts Council will hold “We Love the Arts Fundraiser” featuring the opportunity to view Celebrate Women!

John O’Lague Galleria, Hayward City Hall with NorCal NLAPW exhibit, Celebrate Women! Photo by Patricia Dennis, Santa Clara County


John O’Lague Galleria Curator Winda Shimizu has already asked NorCal NLAPW, Inc. to exhibit again in 2018.

The brainchild of Diablo/Alameda President Winnie Thompson, Celebrate Women! embodied the collaboration of 52 Pen Women artists and poet/writers. Thompson also coordinated the event for NorCal NLAPW, Inc..

Celebrate Women! runs from Oct. 6 through Nov. 17, 2017. NorCal NLAPW, Inc. consists of six branches: Diablo/Alameda, Golden Gate/Marin, Modesto, Sacramento, Santa Clara County and Stockton/Lodi.

Celebrate Women! video, produced by Modesto Branch Vice President Jill Adler, can be viewed on YouTube: Celebrate Women! video

Submitted by Jill Adler

NorCal News Editor
Newsletter for the NorCal NLAPW branches
Modesto Branch

Pensacola, FL Branch Congratulates Eight New National Members

From left to right, Autry Dye (retiring Membership Chair), Jane George (Art), Linda Kelley (Letters), Judy Eggart (Art), Staci Miron (Art), Diana Obe (Art), Claire Massey (Letters), Helen Breton (Membership Chair). Not pictured: Suzette Brooks (Art) and Janice Burns (Letters)

Eight new National members were recognized at the Pensacola, FL Branch’s September 2017 meeting: Janice Burns, Claire Massey, and Linda Kelley (Letters); Judy Eggart, Diane Obe, Suzette Brooks, Staci Maron, and Jane George (Art). Helen Breton, who already holds National certification in Letters, received a certificate in Art.

Autry Dye, Membership Chair 1984-2017


Membership Chair Helen Breton presented the certificates along with Autry Dye (retiring Membership Chair, who has served since 1984), whom she honored as “our cornerstone.” Autry, who also holds National certification in both Art and Letters, was presented with a commemorative gift for her extraordinary service.



NORCAL Branches Celebrate Women!



In The Pen Woman, Fall 2017:

Bayou City II Continues to Grow

By Treanor Baring, Bayou City II Branch President

The Bayou City II Branch, the newest branch formed, continues to add members. A close-knit (read “tiny”) branch heading toward 15 members, it hosts writing workshops on a weekly basis, as well as takes art field trips.

Bayou City II Branch Vice President Ava Cosey in front of her “Legacy of a Lie” at the Holocaust Museum Houston.

Branch members toured the Holocaust Museum Houston and its special exhibit GENOCIDE: Man’s Inhumanity to Humankind, which included Vice President Ava Cosey’s piece, “Legacy of a Lie.” Selected as one of 63 pieces from over 600 submissions by Texas artists, Cosey’s painting depicts the “Scottsboro boys,” nine African-American youths imprisoned in 1931 and later exonerated.

The museum’s website describes the exhibit as  “part of HMH’s mission to teach the dangers against hatred, prejudice, and apathy. Through the eyes of each artists’ work, these lessons are reflected vividly, hauntingly, and provocatively with the understanding of the brutality and senselessness of such acts.”

In branch business news, the branch elected its new slate of officers, approved new member applications for submission to the national office this fall, and welcomed transfer Amelia Morris from the Des Moines Branch. Elected were Treanor Baring, president; Ava Cosey, vice president; Jamie Mcardle, treasurer and membership chair; and Karen Smith, recording secretary. Fall plans include continuing writing workshops, art events, and Skype sessions with our virtual members and possibly other branches.

Central Ohio Artists in the Spotlight

Three of Central Ohio Branch’s artists had their work featured recently to the public.

Kathy Anderson is one of 34 artists participating in the groundbreaking “Columbus Crossing Borders” project. It is currently in production as a traveling art exhibit and documentary film.

The artists were challenged to “cross borders,” working into one another’s paintings in a process symbolic of refugees who must cross borders as they flee war and persecution and make new homes for themselves in unfamiliar places.

The visual collage that results will pay tribute to the courage and resilience of those who experience the loss of their homelands and must hope for welcome and new beginnings in strange, new places. The documentary premiered at the Drexel Theatre in Bexley, Ohio.

Anderson’s paintings were also shown at the Boston Mills Art Festival in Peninsula, Ohio, in June, and her work has been accepted into the Columbus Winterfair, which takes place in December.

The work of two artists from the branch was exhibited at the Ohio State Fair Fine Art Exhibition in August. One painting was Dawn Petrill’s “Memories’ Quiet Interlude” and the other was Bev Goldie’s encaustic titled “Remnants.”

Santa Clara Members Keep Busy Summer Schedule

By Patricia Dennis

Santa Clara Branch ladies came to support fellow member Diana Chan in her outreach program at the Saratoga Senior Center. Left to right, Louise Webb, Bonnie J. Smith, Dorothy Atkins, Luanna Leisure, ShaRon Haugen, and Patricia Dennis.

Summer and the living is easy. Well, not exactly! Pen women are always on the go. The Santa Clara County Branch participated in an outreach program at the San Mateo Fair in June. Members Dorothy Atkins (also NorCal president), ShaRon Haugen, Pat Fisher, and Patricia Dennis handed out materials promoting NLAPW. There were quite a few interested in our organization. Gatherings like these keep the NLAPW’s name out there and encourage other creative women to join our strong group of professionals.

Louise Webb hosted a fun event in which 11 Pen Women participated in filming a video clip about what Pen Women means to them. It gave us insight on what really motivates us, and we all agreed that being in the company of other creative women is inspiring.

Luanna Leisure, branch secretary, was asked to do a presentation at the 120th anniversary gala at the Pen Arts Building and Art Museum about her outreach at an elementary school.

“I feel so humbled to have been a part of it,” she said. “My video presentation of the children went over very well and brought cheerfulness to the atmosphere.”

Nancy Bloomer Deussen’s composition, “Amber Waves,” was performed magnificently at the event by Dr. Kristina Tanner. The program was filled with outstanding and talented women.

Pat Fisher and Dorothy Atkins (seated) are doing outreach at the San Mateo Fair in June.

Dorothy Atkins and Pat Fisher had a morning of outreach into the community as they visited with Jill of Ricochet art. It is a remarkable location where Jill runs a sewing camp and a runway academy for young girls and women who want to express their inner artist. She is committed to inspire and empower women of all ages to explore art without boundaries. Her unique location is one of a kind, community oriented, heartfelt and timeless. Several possibilities were discussed for Pen Women and Ricochet to perhaps do a tea/fashion show/art show in the future.

Diana Chan made an impressive presentation  at the Saratoga Senior Center on her African safari, tying in her two books, “Animal Kingdom Vertebrates” and “Animals with Backbones,” and her cookbook, “Easy ‘n Healthy Cooking.” Pen Women Louise Webb, Bonnie Jo Smith, Dorothy Atkins, Luanna Leisure, ShaRon Haugen, Patricia Dennis, and Patty Dick were in attendance and talked with other visitors, encouraging them to check out the Santa Clara County Branch.

Later in July, Patricia Dennis and ShaRon Haugen participated in an art show at Los Gatos Birdwatchers and chatted with other artists. We have one lady interested in joining! As she stated, “It is worthwhile being a part of an organization that promotes art and also gives back to the community in the way of scholarships.”

Sarasota Celebrates 60th

By Barbara Jendrysik, Publicity Chair

President Brenda Spalding talks with Community Exhibition visitors as they check out books by branch members.

Sarasota Branch members have been celebrating their 60th anniversary in many ways.

The branch started the festivities by designing a logo, a banner, and a pin. All have been proudly displayed by branch members.

In February, a panel discussion titled “The Artist’s Journey” was presented to the public by Ronni Miller, Alice Moerk, Lolly Owens, and President Brenda Spalding at the Selby Library in Sarasota. Each member told the audience her personal story of her artistic endeavors and spoke about the rewards and roadblocks along the way.

In March, the branch participated in the Sun Circle Art Festival to introduce the community to NLAPW. Members greeted attendees and distributed information about the League. Art work and books by the members were sold to benefit the annual student awards program. Coincidentally, one of the past student awardees was playing in a band at the festival and shared an update about his music education and career after graduation.

Jana Millstone with her displayed work, “Everything Happens for a Reason.”  Photos by Polly Curan

In May, the Ringling College of Art and Design showcased the work of the Sarasota Branch at the annual Community Exhibition. Twenty art members filled the Richard and Barbara Basch and Willis Smith Galleries with 60 works of art. Letters members joined in the exhibit with over 40 of their books on display.

The exhibit lasted nearly a month, and 200 guests attended the opening reception. There was even a 60th anniversary celebration cake. Vice President Polly Curran added to the exhibit with her ikebana floral arrangements, creating a new arrangement each week. Carol Doenecke, art chair, coordinated the exhibit with the Ringling College.

During the exhibition, a docent tour led by art member Lolly Owens provided 60 guests with information about the artists and their works.
Local newspapers and magazines published articles about the exhibition and the 60th anniversary celebration.

Portland Funds Scholarship

Milwaukie High School chose Carissa Lee Nott (pictured) as the 2017 letters winner to receive Portland Branch, Oregon, Pen Women’s $200 scholarship.

Carissa is the daughter of Chuck and Cara Nott. She plans to study criminal justice and law at Pacific University at Forest Grove.

“National League of Pen Women, thank you so much for awarding me the $200 scholarship. It means a lot to me and I can assure you it will be put to good use in college,” she wrote in her thank-you note to the branch.


Modesto —   Like Mother, Like Daughter

Newest Modesto member Virginia Dall, showing her certificate, with membership chair Sally Ruddy.

Earlier this year, Virginia Dall was welcomed as a new member for letters by the Modesto Branch, California. She was sponsored by her daughter, Louise Kantro, branch treasurer.

Virginia says she is “thrilled, at the age of 92, to be joining her daughter and other women to celebrate creativity.”

A retired community college instructor, she wrote poetry occasionally, increasing her output somewhat in retirement. After her husband’s death, she moved from San Diego County to Modesto, California, writing with a renewed vigor.

“I was pleased to introduce my mother to the group that welcomed me five years ago,” daughter Louise says.


Omaha Branch Hosts National President

By Connie Spittler, Omaha Branch President

National President Virginia Franklin Campbell and Dandi with JoAnna O’Keefe.
Photos by Sue Olson-Mandler

In July, longtime members of the Omaha Branch welcomed NLAPW President Virginia Campbell to our area’s Millard Branch Library.

Her talk, the highlight of the program, was followed by a literary and visual exhibit of creative work by present and past members.

Left to right, Madaline Williams, collector of classic children’s literature; prospective member Valerie Robert; and Connie Spittler, Omaha Branch president, whose latest women’s fiction garnered national and international accolades.

Sue Olson-Mandler, branch historian, in front of her watercolor, “Little Sisters,” featured on the cover of The Pen Woman in 1990.

Examples in the letters category included memoir, history, mystery, poetry, essay, academic studies, magazine articles, and short-film adaptation.

The visual category displayed drawings, oil and acrylic paintings, porcelain sculpture, an inspiration quilt, and handmade paper art pieces.

Gracie Schroeder, artist with multiple awards for Chinese brush painting; Janet Nitsick, known for her historical romance novels; and past members Ginger Hain, Ruth Tussey, and Dottie Seymour.






The colorful presentation contributed to this diverse, special event illustrating the spirit and history of a branch started in 1973.


Honolulu Hosts Art Show

The Honolulu Branch hosted its biennial art exhibit this summer.  The opening was very festive, with live music, delicious food, and an imaginative “Lost and Found Hunt” including a remote control,  sunglasses, keys, fine jewelry, and scarves, which had been hidden earlier around the exhibition space.

The works chosen included classical landscapes, portraits, and more. Susie Anderson won first place for a painting of Chun’s reef, a lovely local surf spot on the North Shore of Oahu. Margo Goodwill received second place for her sculpture, “A Whole School of Fish” (pictured).

Atlanta Donates to NLAPW

By Fran Stewart

The board of the Atlanta Branch voted recently to donate $2,000 to the national organization. We discussed ways in which our branch could support the national organization above and beyond our annual dues contributions. Over the past years, our branch has benefited from several generous bequests, and we chose to share our bounty with our parent organization. The wording of one of the board members was eloquently succinct: “As National thrives, we thrive.”

All our branch members are committed to the survival of NLAPW, but we not only want it to survive, we want it to flourish. Where else can we find such a pool of dedicated artists? In Atlanta, we follow the national commitment to encourage each other in our artistic endeavors, and we feel the money we donated can help to benefit all the members with the guidance of our national board.

Our success as a branch has always been based on the long-range, artistic vision of NLAPW, and we feel that as members, we have professional opportunities that we might not benefit from otherwise, as well as the credentials associated with a long-standing professional organization. Therefore, our hope is that our infusion of funds into the NLAPW coffers will come back to all the branches in long-range benefits as NLAPW prospers nationwide.

Boca Raton Honors Students

Three college-bound women (pictured) received achievement awards in letters at the Boca Raton Branch’s May 2017 luncheon.

The special Marlene Klotz Achievement Award was presented to Alexandra J. Monte. Krystal Bogle and Arielle Matthews were the other recipients.

Pensacola Branch Publishes Nobis

Karen Morris, Secretary
Pensacola Branch

Nobis: Making Others See is a collection of selected works from 28 of the Pensacola Branch’s members and patrons. Selections include full-color photographs of their artwork, poetry and prose writings, and artists’ statements.

The Pensacola Branch will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year, and this book is a fitting tribute to the organization and to the members’ own inspirations and accomplishments. “Nobis” is the Latin word for “us.”

The cover art, “Dancers” by Mara Viksnins, symbolizes its theme. Viksnins, also the branch president, states, “This book was put together with great care to show how women artists, poets, writers, photographers, and crafters with divergent backgrounds, unique skills, and personal ideals could come together in harmony.” The book is available in paperback on Amazon.

Our Southeast Louisiana  branch celebrated our oldest member’s birthday at our September meeting.


Claire Rohrbough is a long time active member of Pen Women. She has been instrumental in promoting this organization, which she loves dearly.

Still sharp as a tack, she contributes ideas and wisdom to her Pen sisters at meetings.

When asked how does she feel being 102, she smiles and says “no peer pressure ”

Wishing you a Happy 102nd birthday Claire. We love you! 

Your SELA Branch Pen Sisters

Pen Women Connect in a Statewide Florida Event

Members of the National League of American Pen Women in Florida will come together for the extraordinary FSA/NLAPW 2017 Conference November 10-12, 2017.

Florida Pen Women will explore ways to enhance branch effectiveness and the personal goals of each member.

Only current (dues paid) Florida Pen Women – members of Florida Branches and Members-at-Large living in Florida – may participate in the conference boutique and enter in the many competitions for awards: in Art, Letters and Music, and specialty awards, including Pen Woman of the Year Award and Individual Achievement Award.

FSA/NLAPW 2017 Conference November 10-12, 2017 at Daytona Beach, Florida

All the details:
FLORIDA 2017 Conf contests-boutique
FLORIDA Room-meals-registration form



In The Pen Woman, Summer 2017:

Cape Canaveral Awards Writing Scholarship

At a luncheon meeting on May 13, the Cape Canaveral Branch awarded its 2017 Writing Scholarship to Taylor Martin, a Viera High School senior.

Scholarship Chair Wanda Luthman presents scholarship award to Taylor Martin.

The 21 members present enjoyed hearing Taylor read an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, as proud parents Carrie and Scott Martin looked on.

Carol Jose, Joan Herrick, and Joan Gerlach chat before lunch.

Hosted at the Indian River Colony Club in Melbourne, the luncheon gave an opportunity for branch members not only to recognize the scholarship recipient, but also to socialize one last time before their summer break.

Photos by Mary Dall

Treasurer Mia Crews welcomes hostess Anna Flowers, guest Annette Clifford, President Marion Coste, Pam Webb, and Luanne Faulkender.


Palm Springs Members Participate in Book Expo

By Carol Mann

Palm Springs Branch authors, left to right: Joanne Hardy, Paula Trimble-Familetti, Carol Mann, Judith Fabris, and D. Marie Fitzgerald.

Five Pen Women writers from the Palm Springs Branch took part in the annual Desert Writers Expo Book Festival at the Rancho Mirage Library in Rancho Mirage, California, in March. The event, sponsored by the library and the Palm Springs Writers Guild, hosted 40 authors. Genres ran the gamut, as highlighted by the books created by these Pen Women.

Joanne Hardy’s novel, “The Girl in the Butternut Dress,” tells the story of Gabrielle Pryor as she faces chaos and violence when her familiar neighborhood comes apart in divided loyalties on the eve of the Civil War.
“Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Questioning Teachings About Biblical Women,” a nonfiction book by Paula Trimble-Familetti, gives women the voice they have been denied to shatter traditional interpretations of their stories.

A collection of original poetry and art by author Carol Mann and local artist Lynn Centeno, “All Ways A Woman” celebrates and honors a woman’s journey — her thoughts, her loves, her many roles in life, her dreams and desires.

“Sargent’s Lady,” a novel by Judith Fabris, is a broad, sweeping story of women’s friendships, tragic love, lost children, and the incredible portrait that sparks the journey in the opening chapter.
Using the idea of a rerun associated with a television episode that is repeated for viewing pleasure, “Reruns” by D. Marie Fitzgerald draws on episodes from her life, transforming and adapting the episodes into short story, memoir, and poetry.

These Pen Women enjoyed an afternoon rich in books, ideas, sales, and camaraderie.


Pensacola Celebrates 75th with Legacy Show

By Karen Morris & Nancy Nesvik

Branch President Mara Viksnins and her painting, “Coming Off the Pedestal”  Photo by Anne Baehr

On one of Pensacola, Florida’s idyllic, sunny winter afternoons this past January, a dozen women assembled at St. John’s Cemetery to make gravestone rubbings as part of an effort to appreciate the talented Pen Women who were Pensacola’s early- to mid-20th century poets, historians, and educators.

Today’s Pensacola Branch will celebrate its 75th birthday in 2018. In their 2016-2017 monthly meetings, members focused attention on their heritage, which they honored with a show (26 participants) at the Wright Place in May called Pen-Sational: Our Pen Women Legacy Continues.

“We were excited to celebrate our 75th anniversary with our show at the Wright Place, which featured art, poetry, and music,” says Mara Viksnins, the branch’s president and driving force behind the historical and artistic project.

Debbie Pearson works on her gravestone rubbing as part of the branch’s project.  Photo by Anne Baehr

Linda Devins created a period-dressed doll, “Owlberta,” for the show. Photo by Anne Baehr

“The many paths taken by Pen Women nationally and locally in the past have added a whole new dimension to our organization,” she says. “They were the pioneers who shaped the roles of women and were instrumental in setting the stage for the future, in times when women were not acknowledged nor respected for their artistic gifts. We find ourselves grateful and more interested than ever in keeping our heritage alive, respecting it, studying it, and  learning from it.”

Pensacola Pen Women

The reception for the show took place on Mother’s Day. It was a poignant connection for Nikki Strahota’s piece, “One Woman’s Journey,” a collage of Pen Women memorabilia honoring her mother, Marie Fortune-Burkhart Blood, an accomplished short-story author and a Pen Woman herself (1918-2004). Linda Devins created a period-dressed doll,

“Owlberta,” for the show. The writing within Mara Viksnins’ painting, “Coming Off the Pedestal,” comes from personal letters written by young girls during the 1920s.


Greenwich Honors Oldest Member

By Judy Crystal, PR Chair, Greenwich Branch

Marie Schwartz, the oldest member of the Greenwich Branch, maintains an active interest in the affairs of the group at the impressive age of 97, serving as a mentor and adviser to many of the younger members.

Marie Schwartz (right) with branch President Deb Weir.

Her literary career has been long and impressive. As Marie Smith (her maiden name), she covered the White House, writing a column for the Washington Post for 16 years. During that time, she served as head of the Washington, D.C. Branch of the NLAPW.

Her experiences led to several books about life in the White House and its inhabitants. Her friendship with Lady Bird Johnson was the base of her interest in the Wildflower Center, to which she made a most generous gift.
After her marriage to Arnold Schwartz, Marie was deeply involved in a number of philanthropic projects, ranging from the arts to medicine.
She has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

An interesting footnote: Four of the 72 Greenwich Pen Women members reside on Dempsey Lane, a short street with only six houses. In addition to its oldest member, the branch’s youngest member and its current president have addresses on the road. A confluence of talent!


Boca Raton Branch Hosts Spring Festival

Spring Family Festival prizewinners, left to right, Mary Unterbrink, Pat Wilson, Barb Capeletti, and Rhoda Hollander

As part of the branch’s ongoing outreach program in the community, the Boca Raton Spring Family Festival in March featured a juried art show. Prizes went to: Rhoda Hollander, first place; Barb Capeletti, second place; Pat Wilson, third place; and Mary Unterbrink, honorable mention.

Branch President Sheila Firestone and a young participant in the “Peace Patch Ballet.”





The highlight of the festival was Sheila Firestone’s original composition, “Peace Patch Ballet.” One of the young participants from the neighborhood was thrilled to be included.

Poets Vera Ripp Hirschhorn, Carol White, Alexandra Goodwin, and Marlene Klotz presented a workshop at the Parkland City Library.


Santa Clara County Awards Four Scholarships

In April, the Santa Clara County Branch honored four talented young women with annual scholarship awards. The quality of the applicants was outstanding and these young women stood out in their field of study with their artistic creativity and academic goals, as well as community service.

Left to right,  branch President Kathryn Tyler, Luanna Leisure, Rachel Hildebrand, Elena Jorgensen, Patricia Dennis, Isabella Baynard, Jeanna Sheen, and Nancy Deussen.

Nancy Bloomer Deussen, music chair and a music composer, presented Jeanna Sheen with the music award for her concert piano performance. Jeanna is a senior from Saratoga High School and is considering attending University of California San Diego, where she will double major in biology and music. The audience had a chance to hear her play a movement from a Mozart piano sonata.

Patricia Dennis, art chair, author, and photographer, presented two awards. The Felicia Pollock Memorial award, donated by Felicia’s husband, Michael Pollock, went to Isabella Baynard, a Los Altos High School senior with a chosen field of fashion design. She has already started her own business and aspires to continue giving back through outreach programs.

The Santa Clara County Branch art award’s recipient was Elena Jorgensen, an Abraham Lincoln High School senior. Elena’s talent with different art media impressed the judging committee. One piece in particular caught the judges’ eye, as it demonstrated the feelings of a young woman starting out on her own. Elena has numerous art pieces on display at different locations and is looking forward to pursuing a graphic arts career in college.

Luanna Leisure, scholarship chair and a published author, gave the letters award to Rachel Hildebrand.  Rachel kept the audience spellbound as she read an excerpt from her story, titled “Power.” Her goal is to become a pediatric oncologist, which entails spending 14 years in undergraduate school, medical school, and residencies. Next year, she will major in cell development and biology.

Membership Chair Susan Zerweck gave a brief message about NLAPW and presented the young ladies with student membership applications to join the Pen Women.

The Santa Clara County Branch is honored to help these young ladies with their educational goals and hopes to see them in the membership ranks soon.


Connecticut Pioneer Showcases Art, Letters, Music

Members of the Connecticut Pioneer Branch presented their work in “Spring Colors,” an exhibition hosted at the Gertrude White Gallery of the Greenwich YWCA, from May 1 to June 15. The reception included readings by letters members and performances by music members, along with the presentation of Junior Art Awards to promising creative young women.

Junior Letters Award recipient Phoebe Jacoby

The recipient of the Junior Letters Award was Phoebe Jacoby, who exhibited two of her works. Phoebe is an advance-placement studio art student of Sherry Tamalonis at Greenwich Academy, where her art has been featured in its national award-winning literary magazine, Daedalus. She also has studied art at the Silvermine Art School and at Stamford’s adult education classes under Carol Dixon.


Elizabeth Dunn, winner of the Junior Letters Award, is a junior editor of Daedalus. She has published poems in several publications, and has earned national recognition from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program, and will receive its gold medal at Carnegie Hall in June. She read her poem, “Homer, Alexander,” at the reception.

Both winners of the Junior Music Award study music with music co-chair Patti Preiss Harris. A 17-year-old junior at Darien High School, Daphne Gray is a gifted performer of classical piano music. She performed “Reverie” by Debussy.

Caroline Lacy, 18, a senior at Darien High, was accepted into the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University. She sang “Du Ring en Meinem Finger” by Schumann.

Among the area artists exhibiting their art work were Lucie Anderes, Vivian Bergenthal, Carol Dixon, Mary Fike Dowling, Grace Le Vander, Kathryn Shorts, Marcia Penny Preston, and Katia Streiff. Letters members Regina Krummel, Polly Memhard, Elvira Sisca, and Missy Wey read their prose and poetry. Music members  Patti Preiss-Harris and Thalia Cokkinos performed.

The reception and exhibition were open to the public, and a large crowd attended.


Scottsdale Supports Community College Student

By Kiki Swanson, Branch President

Scottsdale Branch award honoree Bonnie Lewis, left, with branch President Kiki Swanson.

For eight years, the Scottsdale Branch, Arizona, has awarded a scholarship to an outstanding female Scottsdale Community College student, rotating among arts, letters, and music. The college sponsors the Vortex competition of art, essays, plays, poetry, scripts, short stories, and composition as a tribute to the spiraling energy evident in student creativity. Judges are faculty members, and President Jan Gehler endorses the publication of an anthology of the winning work.

This year, our NLAPW honoree is Bonnie Lewis, and she presented the program at our May meeting. She identified herself by several careers, in addition to being the wife of a physician and mother of three sons.

Our members enjoyed her youthful enthusiasm and the pieces of art she brought to our meeting; we were astounded when she referred to her retirement age as the start of her college painting classes. Her winning painting, titled “Walking to Nowhere,” reflects her mature understanding of the problems of refugees and homelessness, and it appears on the cover of the anthology.

Yes, our members were inspired by Bonnie in her Vortex, her whirlwind of creative energy. We promised each other to renew our commitment as professional women in leadership in arts, letters, and music. We continue to grow by listening to each other and sharing our stories!


Diamond State Encourages Young Writers

Every April, the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers announces the national medal recipients of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. The program had been dormant in Delaware until 2011, when Diamond State Branch members JoAnn Balingit, former Delaware poet laureate; and Betsy Greer, visual arts member, worked with the Delaware Division of the Arts to revive the competition in the state.

Kathryn Klebon (center left), Diamond State Branch scholarship recipient, with parents and Pen Woman JoAnn Balingit (center right) at a reception honoring Delaware  Gold Key recipients. U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester delivered the keynote.

This year, the Delaware Writing Region awarded 30 Gold Keys to 28 writers. These Gold Key works are entered in a national competition, juried by nationally known writers.  Fewer than 1 percent of works submitted to national receive a gold medal. Four of the Delaware young writers received this prestigious recognition this year. The gold medalists and their teachers are invited to a recognition event at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

State affiliate organizations like the Diamond State Branch awarded a total of 19,000 “Gold Keys” or first-place awards to participants. Across the country, some 2,500 teen artists and writers received scholastic medals, including about 850 young writers. They walk in the footsteps of program alumni such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates, Sylvia Plath, Ken Burns, Stephen King, Luis Jiménez, John Updike, and Lena Dunham.

If your branch would like to learn about sponsoring students in your area and become an affiliate for this wonderful contest, branch members are happy to talk to you!


Central New York Members Share Talents at Workshop

The Central New York Branch presented a three-hour workshop, “Writing Creatively,” at Pen Arts Building and Art Museum, in Washington, D.C., in May.

CNY members at the workshop, Mary Gardner, Judith McGinn, Nancy Dafoe, Bobbie Dumas Panek, and Sheila M. Byrnes (National second vice president), with National President Virginia Campbell.

A small but highly engaged group of participants explored writing techniques. Experienced and novice writers were guided by instructor Nancy Avery Dafoe and CNY Branch members Sheila M. Byrnes, Mary Gardner, Judith McGinn, and Bobbie Dumas Panek. The aim of the workshop was to help writers at every level stretch their writers’ muscles and leap into employing less familiar techniques in order to discover.

“Exposing writers to techniques such as catachresis and metonymy or synecdoche and chiasmus causes us to perceive and create in original pen strokes; this exploration often surprises even the most advanced writers,” said Dafoe, an author of six published books and numerous articles and poetry. Dafoe is also the recipient of the William Faulkner/Wisdom 2016 Creative Writing award for poetry.

With the focus on writers, participants enjoyed sharing their explorations in multiple genres with the entire group. Each of the CNY Branch Pen Women read from their own published work and modeled specific techniques, offering comment on how the technique was manifested in the work.

Following a short break after the workshop, the CNY Branch hosted a reading for the public. The afternoon and evening events at Pen Arts were highly successful.

“We would love to do this again,” said Dumas Panek, speaking for the branch members. “It was very meaningful for the participants. You could see their excitement in the learning and sharing processes.”



Cape Code Branch announces winners of the final Haiku Contest


Congratulations to the winers of the recent Haiku contest of the Cape Cod, MA, Branch! This is the 11th and final year the Cape Cod women have sponsored this contest, which raises funds to support youth attending a summer writing course at Cape Cod Writers Center each August. Appreciation to the contest judge, Anna Di Bella, past national president.


Third Prize: Marguena Daniels of Philadelphia, PA

shifting winds
sudden squall passes over
shaft of sunlight

Second Prize: Lucia Kiersch Haase of Spring Valley, IL

one robin singing
on the cherry blossom branch
springtime duet

First Prize: Christina Laurie of West Falmouth, MA

hushed marsh
dawn colors the mist
wood thrush song

Student Recognition Award: Kaiden Holt, 8, East Falmouth, MA

Flowers are blooming
Green, white, bright, and beautiful
Springtime is pretty.

Earlier news from NLAPW Branches:

Spring in NorCal! – Modesto, CA branch news

From left to right: Luanna Leisure, NorCal Facebook editor; Kathryn Tyler, Santa Clara County president; Judy Bingman, NorCal vice president; Dorothy Atkins, NorCal president; Nancy Haskett, Modesto president; Jill Adler, “NorCal News” editor; Carolyn Henry, NorCal secretary and Stockton/Lodi president; and Barbara Chamberlain, NorCal treasurer.

On Saturday, April 22nd, the Modesto, CA branch hosted the spring NorCal NLAPW meeting at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock. In addition to a catered luncheon and regular business meeting, attendees were able to view the spring art show at the Carnegie and enjoy a program which featured the winners of our recent NorCal letters contest.

Eight contest winners attended, read their poetry and prose aloud to the audience, and received award certificates. A silent auction was held to raise money for the Shirley Elke fund which supports NorCal NLAPW art, letters, and music competitions.

Aileen Jaffa Winners with Jill Adler, Modesto Branch Vice-President (front row, left) and Gillian Wegener, President of Modesto Stanislaus Poetry Center (back row, far right).

On Sunday, May 21st,  members of our local branch attended a reception for student winners of the Aileen Jaffa poetry contest. This contest, which is co-sponsored by the Modesto branch of NLAPW and the Modesto Stanislaus Poetry Center, is open to all students in grades K-12 who live or go to school in Stanislaus County. The students were invited to read their winning poetry aloud to the audience and received awards and certificates.

Submitted by Nancy Haskett, Modesto Branch President

Central New York Branch Hosts Writing Workshop, Readings at Pen Arts, May 8, 2017

By Rachael Ikins, Central New York Branch

For 90 years, the Central New York Branch members turned “no” into “yes.” Through their arts, they deepened understanding of women’s issues. In celebration of their milestone, they created an illustrated anthology of members’ work, titled “In the Company of Women.”

Cover of “In the Company of Women” anthology

Thanks to National President Virginia Franklin Campbell, the book inspired the idea for a multi-genre workshop at Pen Arts Building and Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

On May 8, CNY Branch member Nancy A. Dafoe — poet, writer, educator, and Faulkner Poetry Contest winner — will lead a workshop titled “Writing Creatively” from 1 to 4 p.m. The workshop will guide participants through a variety of poetic and literary techniques to allow for richer writing and reading experiences. Dafoe will be joined in teaching the workshop by award-winning poets and writers.

Branch member readings will follow from 5 to 7 p.m. They will include Sheila Byrnes’ journey through breast cancer, Bobbie Panek’s warrior poem, Mary Gardner’s forward, Nancy Dafoe’s short fiction, and Janet Fagal’s poem/photo featuring our oldest member. Audience members will be invited to read their own poetry.

Seating is limited for the workshop. Donations (suggested $50) will be accepted at the door and will secure participants a copy of “In The Company of Women.” The evening reading is free.

Success Story

Fort Lauderdale Fundraising Programs Attract New Members

By Tammy Seymour, Fort Lauderdale Branch Art Chair

With at least a half dozen talented artists capable and eager to teach, the Fort Lauderdale Branch members are discovering that passing on their knowledge raises needed revenues and opens the doors to increased membership.

From left: JoAnn Culligan, Lillian Ragland, Marcia Hirschy, Lee Tatem, Tammy Seymour, Mary Harding, and Mary Belle Cordell in the Lost Wax Jewelry Class a few years ago.

Modestly priced workshops — watercolor batik, jewelry making (lost wax process), watercolor pouring, “small” abstracts, papermaking, and rebel doodling — are creating interest throughout the community. The one-day workshops take place at our community art gallery and invitations are emailed to area artists and friends.

Beverly Dameron during the  Abstract Class last year.

Membership information is made available during the workshops and questions like “what are Pen Women” and NLAPW’s history are discussed during the day.

“We often have members bring friends to classes who want to learn a technique, but don’t know anything about us,” said President Phoenix Marks. “It is such a good way to introduce new people to our group where they can learn more about us in a casual environment.”

Workshop attendees are invited to upcoming luncheons. “This way, they get a more formal view of our organization and our talented members and learn about the fundraising goals for our Achievement Fund,” Marks said. “We have been able to provide $3,000 in annual awards to talented young women for the past five years and are adding an average of three to four new members with these programs.”

Central Ohio Honors Ann Hansen, Pen Woman of 60 Years

Ann Hansen holds one of her books. In the foreground is the desk pen set that the Central Ohio Branch gave her.

Few members have celebrated 60 years as a Pen Woman but Ann Natalie Hansen of the Central Ohio Branch has earned those bragging rights. In December, Central Ohio members honored her at their annual December brunch.

Generous contributions by fellow members were sent to the Commemorative Endowment Fund and Ann Hansen was presented with a beautiful, inscribed desk pen set.

Hansen, who became a NLAPW member at age 29, celebrated her 90th birthday on Sept. 15, 2016. She became a member while working at The Columbus Dispatch daily newspaper as a feature writer.  She subsequently had five books published and has a long list of scholarly and literary accomplishments on her resume.

As a Pen Woman, first in the Columbus Branch and now the Central Ohio Branch, Hansen has held almost every office, including first vice president, 1972-74; president, 1976-’78, 1992-’94, and 2000-2002; membership chair, 1983; treasurer, 1984-’86; and historian, 1970-’72. She has received many honors and awards, including the NLAPW Biennial Award for Lyrics in 1976.

Portland Branch Publishes Anthology

By Anne Price Yates

Portland Branch members are celebrating the publication of their anthology, “Jubilee.” Back row: Barbara Peters, Anne Price Yates (anthology editor), Doreen Gandy Wiley (assistant proofreader), Joanne Stevens, Jane McDonald Johnson, and Lani Clark. Front row: Myrna Tambino Perkins, Barbara Affleck, and Linda Varsell Smith.

Thirteen women of the Portland Branch contributed their poems, prose, and artwork to be compiled into what was originally intended to be a chapbook and ultimately became a 104-page anthology.

The image on the cover of “Jubilee” is member Anne Price Yates’ painting, “Summer Reunion.”

They chose the title “Jubilee” to represent a time of rejoicing and festivity and to celebrate their connection with one another — their sisterhood as well as their creativity and appreciation of writing and the arts.

After the collection, compilation, and editing of contributions from branch members, “Jubilee” was published through CreateSpace and became available from for $11 just after Christmas.

The cover of “Jubilee” is in color, and the interior pages are black and white.

At a celebratory luncheon the end of January, most of the contributing branch members collected their own copies of the book, which had been preordered and stored for them until the event.

Central New York Marks 90th Birthday with a Year of Events

By Janet Fagal, Branch President

Central New York Branch President Janet Fagal with Sen. John DeFrancisco, one of the recipients of the Friend of the Arts Award. Photo by Herm Card Photography

The Central New York Branch celebrated the 90th anniversary of our Oct. 1, 1926 founding with a show and exhibit at the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA). It was the culmination of a year spent honoring our past, planning for our future, and enjoying the Pen Women in our branch.

We began in November 2015 with a visit and talk by Candace Long, NLAPW past president, and then a trip to the National Women’s Hall of Fame where President Long and our branch presented the nomination of Vinnie Ream.

This past October, we hosted a “mini-gala” reception and ceremony at OHA in Syracuse, New York, to celebrate the history of our branch with a show of art and letters by our current members. We presented our 2016 Friend of the Arts Award to three individuals who have made unique and sustained contributions to the creative arts: Jim Emmons, founder and coordinator of the Syracuse Haiku Poster Project; Cheryl Chappell, artist and proprietor of the Edgewood Gallery; and Sen. John A. DeFrancisco, who is a longtime supporter of the arts.

Testimonials written by Vice President for Programs and Special Events Mary Gardner and President Janet Fagal were read for each winner. In partnership with four area arts organizations, we were able to give tickets to attend theater, the symphony, an internationally acclaimed music festival, and author lectures to the winners.

We are grateful to Syracuse Stage, Symphoria of Syracuse, the Skaneateles Festival, and the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series for their support.

Among the many guests was Dorothy Wakker, whose mother, Pen Woman Virginia “Rose” Lowell, appears in a photo that hangs in Pen Arts. Dorothy attended the Biennial with her mother in 1928 and is the 3-year-old in the photo with President Coolidge, her mother, and branch President Nellie Molyneaux.

Honorees, friends, family, area artists, writers, and supporters of the arts enjoyed birthday cake, art, writing, and great conversation. As a branch, we look forward to a bright future.

Southwest Florida Branch Takes Pen Women on Tour

By Sara Williams, Publicity Chair

Southwest Florida Pen Women speakers, left to right: Sara Williams, Honey Costa, Gay Cable, Lorraine Walker Williams, and Joyce Daniels.

The Southwest Florida Branch recently presented “Pages, Brushes, and Gems” at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Lorraine Walker Williams explains the making of a poem.

SWFL Branch President Lorraine Walker Williams offered an overview of the historic role of NLAPW in promoting the careers of women artists.

Letters Chair Joyce Daniels moderated the event as half dozen branch members recounted how they built their careers around their passions, from poetry, fiction, and history, to the production of art and jewelry.

All available seats were filled with an enthusiastic audience.

“Thank you, all, for creating this event with us! Folks really enjoyed it,” said one of the Copperfish owners, Serena Wyckoff. “One woman even stopped by the next day to tell us how much she enjoyed it.”

Boca Raton Plans Spring Festival

Left to right: Sheila Firestone, Elaine Bossik, Barb Capeletti, Vera Ripp-Hirschhorn, and Marlene Klotz are discussing the plans for the Family Spring Festival.

Boca Raton Branch Art Chair Barb Capeletti and President Sheila Firestone arranged for a complimentary fundraiser luncheon for the branch’s Achievement Awards Program. The luncheon took place on Feb. 18 and was sponsored by the Florida Community Bank.

Featured were beautiful, handmade jewelry by Dawn DeMarco Book; artwork by Barb Capeletti; a wine tasting; and various raffles.

Board members discussed plans for the March 4 Family Spring Festival hosted at the Center for Spiritual Living. Festivities for adults and children included music, storytelling, open microphone bits, poetry and publishing workshops, juried art shows, art demonstrations, author talks, a food truck, and a closing concert by Sheila Firestone. Admission was free and funds were donated to the ongoing achievement award program.

Santa Clara County Honors Arts Achievers

By Patricia Dennis

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll!

Edie Matthews and Susan Zerweck are having a great time.

Swinging to the beat of those jazzy entertainers, Eddie Matthews and Susan Zerweck, the 2017 Celebrity Luncheon was off and running. There was a full house of guests, including NLAPW President Virginia Franklin Campbell and her husband, Verne. All were willing to bid on the silent auction and put their tickets in for those wonderful raffle prize baskets, which the Santa Clara County Branch members so lovingly assembled the weekend before.

We were not short of entertainment! Our talent was abundant as singer and achiever Lijah Roof performed, with accomplished pianist Nancy Deussen accompanying her. Nancy also played background music throughout the event and later performed a duet with Judy Bingman, who was on saxophone.

Cymber Lily Quinn, also one of the music achievers, soothed our souls with her melodic harp music and when she played her composition of Cricket’s song, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.

Lijah Roof, Diana Chan, Bonnie Jo Smith, Erica Goss, Julia Watson, Lille McGhee Queen, Cymber Lily Quinn, and Dorothy Brown at the Celebrity Luncheon.

The Celebrity Luncheon was to honor eight professional women in the arts. It is also the main source of fundraising for the yearly scholarships given out by the Santa Clara County Branch.

The Valley is known for being an art center and our eight honorees were exceptional representatives of their fields.

Dorothy Atkins did the honors of introducing the three artists, Dorothy Brown, Bonnie Jo Smith, and Julia Watson. Luanna Leisure rolled out the carpet for the three literary ladies, Diana Chan, Erica Goss, and Lille McGhee Queen. Susan Zerweck presented music laurels to Lijah Roof and Cymber Lily Quinn.

And now on to the scholarships!

Pikes Peak Zentangles with Imaginative Results

By Sarah Byrn Rickman, Branch Secretary and Newsletter Editor











Combatting the snow and cold of January, Pikes Peak Branch gathered in the warmth of our creative camaraderie and produced some astonishing works of arts.

Our arty duo, Cheri Issel and Rosie Eylens — known to the rest of you as the national arts chair and vice chair, respectively — brought buckets (in a past life they were cottage cheese containers) filled with paints, brushes, a Sharpie, and rectangles of watercolor paper on which we were to produce our very own masterpieces.

What fun! Seventeen of us sat around a large craft table and each fashioned her own Zentangle picture with watercolor and ink.

Diablo/Alameda Hosts President

At the February potluck. Front row (sitting), left to right: Branch President Winnie Thompson, Charlotte Severin, Virginia Degner.
Back row: (standing) Jo Ann Frisch, National President Virginia Franklin Campbell, Natica Angilly, Ann Maloney-Mason, Kazumi Cranney, Connie Rusk, Betty Enoch, Carol Markos.

Diablo/Alameda Branch, California, hosted National President Virginia Franklin Campbell and her husband, Verne, at the February potluck lunch meeting. President Campbell spoke of need to increase membership and make the world aware of Pen Women.

She said there is no limit to what we can create with our new membership amendments and a new, positive view.

Proceeds of the branch auction ($87) were donated to NLAPW. The auction was started by early member Lucy Bogue, who figured this was an easy and fun way to raise money.

The branch will host its inaugural art show, “A Woman’s View of the World,” Sept. 29 to Nov. 17,  at the John O’Lague Art Galleria in Hayward City Hall. Branches invited to participate along with Diablo/Alameda are Golden Gate-Marin, Modesto, Santa Clara, Stockton, and Sacramento. Please contact the Diablo/Alameda Branch president for questions.

Yucca Branch Welcomes New Member

Also on Friday, December 16, 2016 Jeannie Gibson of Los Alamos, New Mexico was awarded her Art Certificate and welcomed into Albuquerque’s Yucca Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc.

Left to right: Esther Vigil, Yucca Membership Chair; Fran Krukar, Yucca President; Jeannie Gibson new member; Jane Maclean, NLAPW 5th Vice President and Jeannie’s Sponsor

Jeannie has a “tremendous story” about recovering from a brain injury through her art. Jeannie’s sister Charly Potts is a Pen Woman, a member of the Pikes Peak Branch. Last year Charly brought Jeannie to Colorado to share her heart-stirring story with the Pikes Peak Pen Women.

Sarasota Branch Honors High School Seniors in the Arts

By Barbara Jendrysik, Publicity Chair

The Sarasota Branch, Florida, presented awards to high school seniors in the arts from Sarasota and Manatee schools in February. The purpose of the awards is to encourage students to pursue their education and interest in the arts.

Letters chairs Dr. Sylvia Price (second from left) and Amy Elder (far right) with letters award winners Olivia Hoefling, Peyton Hoey, Jazrielle Couran, Coralie Jean-Marie, and Amy Elder. Photos by Polly Curran

Sarasota members on opening night
(left to right): Brenda Spalding, Marge Bennett, Maddy Ginsberg, Lolly Owens, Margaret Mills, Judy Allen, Alice Moerk,Art Exhibit Chair Carol Doenecke. Photos by Justus Doenecke

The artwork was displayed, compositions were read, and music was performed by the students for the luncheon guests, which included many of the students’ teachers and family members.

Music award winners Sommer Altier, Dominick Medico, and Kavitharini Saravanan with Dr. Alice Moerk, music chair.

The branch raised funds for the awards through donations, a silent auction in December, and monthly meeting raffles. The Betty Altman Art Awards were funded by the David Altman Foundation in memory of Betty Altman, whom we gratefully remember as furthering the hopes of young artists. Sylvia Price donated the Dr. Sylvia Anderson Price Writing Award in memory of her late husband, Joe.

Tiffany Rojas (Lakewood Ranch High School) with her winning entry, “Under the Moonlit Cave,” acrylic paint on repurposed material.

The winning students received a certificate, award ribbon, a monetary award, and information about student membership in NLAPW and the Sarasota Branch mentorship program. The mentorship is a branch outreach program, open to award winners who are continuing their education in art, letters, music, or dance. It matches a Pen Woman with a student for a year, with the goal of helping the student have a meaningful, successful career in the arts.

Branch members who chaired the event were Barbara Jendrysik (awards and art chair), Audre Marans (art chair), Amy Elder and Sylvia Price (letters chairs), and Dr. Alice Moerk (music chair).

The Sarasota Branch is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Planned events include an outreach project and panel discussion titled “The Artist’s Journey” at the Selby Library in Sarasota, participation in the Sun Circle Arts Festival and the Venice Reading Festival, and an exhibit of members’ artwork and books at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Modesto California Branch hosts visit by NLAPW President Virginia Franklin Campbell

On Wednesday, February 15, thirteen members of our branch had the rare opportunity to meet with national president Virginia Campbell during her visit to California.

Jill Adler, Modesto Vice President, Virginia Franklin Campbell, NLAPW President and Nancy Haskett, President, Modesto, CA Branch

After a luncheon at a local restaurant, Virginia shared a PowerPoint presentation with the group and updated us on NLAPW finances, the Pen Arts Building, ideas for future national projects, and more.

This was the first time our branch has ever been honored with a visit from the national president, and we are grateful for the opportunity we were given to meet Virginia.

– Submitted by Nancy Haskett, Modesto Branch President


Santa Clara County Reflects on 2016

By Patricia Dennis
The Santa Clara County Branch had a very successful year in 2016. Our talent runneth over!

Santa Clara County Branch celebrity luncheon achievers, left to right: Norma Slavic, Marjorie Johnson (letters); Ushma Vahia, Christine VanHoy (music); June Lyman, Giselle Gatrelle, Joanne Tillman (art); Mary Ann Savage (letters).

Writers have been taking pen in hand, with many notable works being released, such as Ursula Meier’s “The House on the Hillside” and Barbara Chamberlain’s “Sword of Smuggler’s Point.” Mary Lou Taylor received an honorable mention from the San Francisco Book Festival 2016 for her poetry book, “Bringing Home the Moon,” as did Audry Lynch with “Garth Jeffers Recalls His Father, Robinson Jeffers.”

In children’s books genre, Luanna Leisure’s “Best Buds” hit the press, as did Norma Slavit’s captivating “Peaches, Frog, and the Man in the Moon.”
Composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen was honored many times throughout the year. Her latest orchestra composition, “Trinity Alps,” won first place in NLAPW’s first conferring of the Vinnie Ream Awards. Judy Bingman’s photography graced the walls of the Pen Arts building, and her photo of Mt. McKinley won first place in the Vinnie Ream competition.

Marilyn Miller, Patricia Dennis, Patty Dick, Jeannie Carbonne, Carolina Mueller, and ShaRon Haugan are but a few who had art juried in shows during 2016 and Dorothy Atkins’ lovely paintings were on exhibit in a lawyer’s office.

In fashion news, Jerri Scaife graced the cover of Fuse Fashion Magazine and Louise Webb was honored by the city of Saratoga for “random acts of kindness.” The list goes on!

The celebrity luncheon at the Elks Lodge in San Jose featured a Hawaiian theme, and members and guests were mesmerized by the San Jose Hula Club. Comedian Edie Matthews as well as ventriloquist Carol Green had the crowd in stitches. Susan Zerweck and Kathryn Taylor emceed with grace and ease.

Celebrity lunch achievement awards went out to Christine Van Hoy for music; Norma Slavic, Mary Ann Savage, and Marjorie Johnson for letters; and Joanne Tillman, Ushma Vahia, June Lyman, and Gisella Gatrelle for art. Proceeds of this gala event went to help fund the scholarships awards presented by the Santa Clara County Branch.

The depth of talent of the young ladies applying for the 2016 scholarship was simply amazing. After much deliberation, the final choices for the $2,000 scholarship awards went to: Melody Hsu, music/composition; Kim Do, letters; and Rachel Geng, art. The  $1,000 Felicia Pollack Memorial Award for Art went to Codie Chang.

Judy Bingman and Dorothy Atkins turned over their roles of president and vice president, respectively. New 2016-2017 officers are: Kathryn Tyler, president; Carolina Mueller, vice president; Luanna Leisure, secretary; and ShaRon Haugen, treasurer. Susan Zerweck is membership chair.<br />
The Santa Clara County Branch is once again gathering forces and looks forward to a wonderful 2017.


Greenwich Bestows Owl Award

Arlene Mark is the 2016 recipient of the Greenwich Branch’s Owl Award. It is given to a member for outstanding achievement in her field and service to the community.
In presenting the award at this year’s holiday luncheon, Vice President Marcia Hamilton noted that Mark, a longtime member of the organization, has contributed her “time, talent, and treasures to our community and beyond.”

Mark is the author of novels and short stories, many featuring children. She has served as a board member and chairman of the Letters Committee, and has been a dedicated volunteer in a variety of community organizations. Accepting her Owl Award, an emotional Mark said, “I would be outrageously happy for a feather.”



Sacramento Branch pastel artist, Urania, honored at event in China

California artist Urania Christy Tarbet, a Sacramento Branch letters and art member, was invited by the host organizers of the 2nd China Biennial Pastel Exhibition in Suzhou, China, to be their honored guest last fall.  The exhibition catalogue foreword, printed in both Chinese and English, honored only two artists: China’s Master Hang MingShi, for whom the museum is named, and Tarbet.
Tarbet’s invitation was the result of her work as the founder and president emeritus of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). The complete exhibition included pastel paintings of a hundred artists from 14 countries, including 40 from the United States.
See Urania’s story in The Pen Woman magazine, Winter 2017.
The Pen Woman magazine is free to members. Extra copies available for purchase here.